AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended a settlement awarding $20 million to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) to remedy devastation caused by the failure of Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC to properly manage vegetation growth. Almost nine years ago to the day, unmaintained trees damaged power lines and sparked a wildfire that destroyed 1,700 homes and burned 96 percent of the Bastrop State Park, which is one of only seven state parks across the country that have been designated as a National Historical Landmark.

“This settlement marks a monumental step in the continued restoration of the Bastrop State Park and healing of this beautiful Texas community,” said Attorney General Paxton. “After fires and floods brought colossal damage, TPWD has been expertly nursing this state treasure back to health. As more work is still needed, I commend this settlement and the hard work of everyone involved for providing much needed remedy to this stunning Texas landmark and those who fight for its conservation.”

“The Bastrop wildfire was unquestionably a tragedy that took a terrible toll on the local community, Bastrop State Park, and the unique ecology of the Lost Pines,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “This landmark settlement will go a long way to help recover the state park and its wildlife and plant communities. By investing in strategic land acquisition and restoration around the park, this will benefit people and wildlife for decades to come. We all owe a debt of thanks to the state Office of the Attorney General for diligent assistance with this case.”

After facing the most economically destructive wildfire in Texas history, the Bastrop State Park is under continued, successful restoration and is now open in accordance with health and safety limitations and guidelines. Learn more about the park at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/bastrop.

Read a copy of the settlement here.

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